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Always Time to Die [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Lowell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 23 2005

With her trademark electrifying storytelling and razor-sharp tension, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell proves once again why she is one of today's top masters of suspense -- in a riveting tale of dark family secrets ready to explode with the devastating force of a Southwestern earthquake.

The powerful Quintrell family of New Mexico has spent decades in the public eye. Now the recent death of the clan's patriarch, a former U.S. senator, has placed his son, Governor Josh Quintrell, squarely in the spotlight as he prepares his run for the highest political office in the land. It is not a good time to be rattling skeletons in the family's closets.

Researching personal histories isn't just Carolina "Carly" May's profession, it's her passion. When the governor's eccentric Aunt Winifred invites Carly into the Quintrells' private Taos compound to compile a genealogical record of the illustrious residents, she can hardly believe her good luck. But digging into the past is raising troubling questions about the would-be president's private life, his late father and catatonic mother, and the grisly street crime that left his notorious drug-addicted sister dead. And it soon becomes frighteningly apparent that the motivation of the dotty old woman who hired Carly might be something more akin to revenge -- and that someone is determined to remove the inquisitive genealogist from the picture by any means necessary.

As a dark world of twisted passions and depraved crimes slowly opens up before Carly, she realizes that there is no one whom she dares to trust -- perhaps least of all Dan Duran, a dangerous and haunted mystery man who's somehow tied to the Quintrells' past. But she will need an ally to survive the terrible secrets a father carried to the grave and an even more devastating evil that lurks among the living -- because following the bloodlines of the wealthy and power-hungry can be a bloody business ... and some dead secrets can kill.

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From Publishers Weekly

Ann Maxwell has written over 60 books in multiple genres; as Elizabeth Lowell (Die in Plain Sight), she creates dialogue with immediacy and emotional coloration that sets her apart from the romantic suspense pack. Her 10th outing as Lowell begins with the tidy murder of "The Senator," the ill and infirm patriarch of a prominent Taos, N.Mex., clan. Carly May, a genealogist/historical researcher, is commissioned to write a family history by a disgruntled family member who hopes she'll dig up dirt. As Carly's research starts in earnest, she meets, among the Senator's many legitimate and illegitimate children, Dan Duran, a former CIA-like operative who, she finds out (but the reader knows all along), is the Senator's illegitimate grandson. Carly gets dire threats, she and Dan get close, and more people die. By combining new techniques of DNA testing with old-fashioned research and detective work (lots of appealing New Mexican history comes into play), Carly and Dan finally discover the truth about the family. But readers will care less about that than about their many charming exchanges, which Lowell crafts with sophistication and a sense of play. Quality and quantity may not be mutually exclusive after all. (July 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Carly May was adopted and has never found out anything about her own biological roots, yet tracing genealogical roots for other families is how she makes a living. She has been hired by Winifred Simmons y Castillo, aunt of the governor of New Mexico, to write a history of her family, but only of the female descendants. This is highly unusual; then, when Carly arrives in Taos, she finds that the governor's father has died, and no one is truly mourning him. The power dynamics within the family have changed, and only Winifred wants Carly there, as proven by the threats she receives. Dan Duran has returned to Taos after sustaining injuries while tangling with a drug cartel. He knows that searching through family secrets can be deadly and takes on the role of white knight toward Carly as they investigate an illustrious but suspect family. As always, Lowell delivers top-notch romantic suspense in her signature staccato style. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Writing July 16 2005
By A Customer
"Always Time To Die" is amazing writing. Filled with twist and turns and wonders if you have it right or not. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I also enjoy Katlyn Stewart's work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genealogy can be deadly. July 12 2005
By Detra Fitch - Published on
The story begins with the murder of an old man, former Senator Andrew Jackson Quintrell III. No one really cared that he died. Everyone in the area knew the dirty old man had been a philanderer his entire life. If it was a human female, between the ages of puberty and menopause, the would bed her, even against her will. Back in his glory years people kept silent about such things. After all, he was a powerful man in New Mexico. The voting public would never believe a bad word against such a powerful and upstanding citizen.

Governor Josh Quintrell was the old man's son. Josh could care less that the old man was dead. Josh had his eyes on the White House. All he had to do was keep his family's dirty laundry hidden from the voting public for eleven more months. Then he could sell the ranch that had been in his family for centuries and stick his ailing mother, Sylvia, in a nursing home somewhere. Sylvia had not spoken to anyone or acknowledged her surroundings since the 1960s. She would never even realize that she was no longer on the ranch.

Winifred Simmons y Castillo was Josh's aunt, Sylvia's sister. Winifred was glad the dirty old man was dead. He never really cared for his ailing wife anyway. Winifred stayed by her sister's side, willing her to live each day. Winifred hired Carolina "Carly" May to write the Castillo family history. She was the last of the Castillo line. It was time to put their history into print for all the world to know. It was time to get vengeance for Sylvia's sake.

Carly loved genealogy. Perhaps it was because she was adopted, her file sealed, and she had no way to know her own biological family history. This time the family she wrote about was famous. Carly felt honored to be doing the Castillo-Quintrell family history. But no one in town wanted Carly to dig into the past. All of them had dark secrets. Many warned her to quit and leave. Help came in the form of mysterious Daniel "Dan" Duran, who was tight lipped about his occupation. All he would tell her is that he was on vacation for a few months. Dan had grown up in the area. He knew a lot about the families Carly was working on. He also knew that most of the locals were, in some way, related to the former Senator. Someone wanted the Senator's secrets to die quietly, just like the dirty old man had. Dan was determined to keep Carly alive.

**** This is a intriguing story filled with danger, suspense, and just a touch of romance. People interested in learning a bit about genealogy, how to find relatives via DNA samples, or how to figure out the dates of old photos will enjoy the details that the author goes into. If you are in no way interested in such things, you may find yourself skimming areas of the book because the author included a lot of her research on the subjects. This makes the story even more realistic to the readers. So does all the information the author added about the history of New Mexico. At some parts of the story I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out who did what, when, and why, as if it was a CSI television episode. Author Elizabeth Lowell has a new fan in me! ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding Sept. 20 2005
By G. Greene - Published on
One of the best things about most of the books Elizabeth Lowell writes is her research, which can enhance her work enormously. In this case, however, the intricacies of genealogy weigh the story down at the expense of action and plot. While the characterizations start out strong, they also fall victim to way too many characters and genealogy threads.

I read about two-thirds of this book in a day, then didn't pick it up again for weeks because it simply didn't hold my interest. Having said that, if you are interested in genealogy, you will probably enjoy this book a good deal more than I did. But if you're looking for a good romance/suspense novel, you may well be disappointed.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where did Elizabeth Lowell Go? Aug. 1 2005
By Patricia A. Zavad - Published on
Since you already have reviewers who have given you the premise of the book I'll not duplicate. I never write reviews -- this book was so annoyingly poor that I was determined to say something. What happened to Elizabeth Lowell? Where's the author who wrote the other "Always" books or the "Only" series or the rest of her books?!! The premise was a good idea -- but I think she started to drown in all the characters that had to be brought in to make the premise work. And, one paragraph love scene, does not a Romance Novel make!! By the end of the book I couldn't have cared less about anyone of the characters -- I just wanted the book to be over! Do yourself a favor and wait for the paperback. The hardback was too expensive for the lack of pleasure you receive. Sorry Elizabeth, you're too talented a story teller to sell your public this lackluster excuse for a novel. I gave you two stars because you sat down and tried to write something!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars who wrote this and what have you done with elizabeth? July 6 2006
By craving a good read - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read most of elizabeth lowell/ann maxwell's books, I was severely disappointed with 'always time to die"...indeedy, quite an appropriate title. There was absolutely no life in this book. I'm almost convinced she didn't write it. Would have given 0 stars, it's that bad.

The story has an overcomplicated, confusing plotline involving geneology, New Mexican land inheritance history, and a town full of unlikeable 'hispanos'. Most of elizabeth's books offer entertaining anecdotes, passionate, believable love stories, and interesting research on the part of the author. That's why I can't understand this book - it was uninteresting, the pacing nonexistent, the romance forced, and the storyline boring. The characters, the dialog, the descriptions - not the elizabeth lowell I know and love!

I'm hoping that 'elizabeth' does read these reviews, seriously, if this is par for any future books - save the trees by all means!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a page-turner! Jan. 29 2006
By Coppertop - Published on
This one kept me up late because I had to finish it! I have to admit that the ending got me a bit because I kinda liked the bad guy...but I did actually get it a few pages before the main characters, always a major feat for me! But I loved the two main characters!
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